New Orleans Saints: Harper to Linebacker, CB Richard Marshall in free agency

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San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) breaks a tackle from New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper (41). Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESS WIRE

Safety Roman Harper has more than carried his share of the load on defense since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2006, and he was rewarded with a lucrative contract following last season.

While Harper is always leading the team in tackles, quarterback sacks (7.5 sacks 2011), he’s near the bottom in passes defended.

Not to dredge up old bad memories, but over the last two seasons Saints opponents have made major pass plays against Harper during the playoff’s and have been very successful doing it.

Last years game clutching  catch by 49er’s tight end Vernon Davis was not totally Harper’s fault as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called on a blitz leaving him to fend for himself in the secondary.

However Harper was beaten badly by Davis most of the day, not to mention he was literately eaten alive by the 7-9  Seattle Seahawks offense time after time in the wildcard playoff game in 2010.

Now that a lot of teams are playing two tight ends in their base offensive packages, Harper will be thrown at more than ever and the results are now very predictable.

Hopefully new defensive coordinator Steve Spagunolo will consider moving Harper to linebacker, putting him in a position where he is already strong against the run, but also will shrink the field for him on pass coverages, where chances are he will be a better play maker at linebacker than safety.

Don’t get me wrong, Harper is a very valuable asset for the Saints on defense, but at 6′ 1″ 200 lbs he could be more valuable at linebacker than at safety.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Free Agency New Orleans Saints Richard Marshall Roman Harper The Saints

  • JasonZajdel

    Uhm no. 6’1″ is going to get you eaten alive, too. Harper couldn’t stop half the running backs in the NFL at his size.

  • Paulo1

    He seems to have a knack for making plays on the line of scrimmage and making those tackles all the time, grant it he could bulk up some, but I think just putting him in at linebacker is a better position for his game. Thanks for the comment

  • Paulo1

    Understandable comment JasonZajdel, but I think with a little biking up, Harper would make a great linebacker, he has the toughness to pull it off to!!

  • Paulo1

    Understandable comment Jason, but I think with a little bulking up, Harper would make a good linebacker, he is already mixing it up with running backs, that’s where Most of his tackles are made now, around the line of scrimmage, that’s why DC Greg Williams had him rushing the QB and making plays at the line of scrimmage.